Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 10/3/12
LAWRENCE, Kan. To Kansas coach Charlie Weis, Saturday's game at Kansas State is more than just a rivalry. It's a measuring stick. I'm not going to upset any Kansas fans I hope, Weis said Tuesday at his weekly press conference, but let's face it: Playing K-State gives us a look at how we should want to be. I mean, it's a pretty good role model. (K-State) is where we have to get to. We're all from the same state, right? We're from the same conference, right? Same recruiting base, right? You look at their success and that's where we have to go. The rivalry hasn't been much of one lately anyway, as K-State has won three straight. And this one doesn't figure to be close K-State is a 24-point favorite over the 1-3 Jayhawks. And Weis spent most of his presser Tuesday talking up how fabulous the Wildcats are offensively, defensively and on special teams. Oh, and Weis also conceded with a smile, And we know they are better coached. If it sounds like Weis is suggesting Saturday's game will be a complete mismatch, you're not far off. But Weis did wink as he added, We can still win. It's still a football game. In fact, given the large spread, Weis bristled at the suggestion that the Jayhawks could bring home a moral victory just by keeping it close. Maybe there are people that feel that way, he said. Maybe they'll celebrate if we do all we can to keep it close. But that's not how we're going to approach it. We're going there trying to win. I'd rather lose by 100 points while you're trying to win rather than just sit on it and try to keep it close. Yet Weis is a realist and he knows how difficult a task it will be just to keep K-State interested for four quarters. The Wildcats are 4-0 and already have thumped Miami and upset Oklahoma on the road. Staying competitive with the Wildcats starts with attitude. I don't think it will be any problem motivating our guys, Weis said. We're 1-3. They've beaten us three straight years. If you have to motivate them for a rivalry game against K-State, you've got a severe problem. Now, you might want to prod them a little. But I don't think I have to get in front of them and do a Ronald Reagan and 'Win one for the Gipper.' But on sheer talent alone, Weis' troops will obviously have their hands full. The Wildcats have several ways to make this a laugher, starting with quarterback Collin Klein, who has impressed Weis immeasurably on film. What makes it so tough with him is that you spend all your time trying to figure out how to stop him from running the ball, Weis said, and then he can beat you through the air. He can do so many things in the ground game, too, it makes it so hard to defend. But if you think you can stop that, then you get exposed through the air. The first thing you have to do is get physical and tackle him. If you don't do that, it's going to be a long, long day. Klein's unique running skills has allowed K-State coach Bill Snyder to create a hybrid offense to match Klein's abilities. It's a quarterback-run-driven offense unique to the Big 12. It's unique around here, Weis said. It's not totally unique to college football. I've seen it with the type of offense Tim Tebow ran. And we saw it with (Colin) Kaepernick, the kid from Nevada who is with the 49ers now. It's that type of threat where you get a big, physical quarterback 6-2, 225 who can run through tackles. It's a power offense. And it's so unique to this league, it's a good thing, I think, that we've had two weeks to prepare for this. It's kind of like preparing to play one of the academies, with that triple option. If you're not prepared, you're going to look really bad and it's going to be really long day. Weis has emphasized the physical portion of the game in the past week, stressing to his players the need to be fundamentally sound in all aspects, especially tackling. Weis has also stressed the need to play relatively mistake free. You don't necessarily have to be dynamic offensively, he said. But you can't turn the ball over and commit penalties and all that. K-State lives off that. They live off your mistakes. Look what they did to Oklahoma. I mean, could Oklahoma have given them any more gifts? K-State thrives on that and if we do that, well, it's not going to work. Ball security will start with Jayhawks quarterback Dayne Crist, who threw a crucial pick in the loss to Rice, and who completed just 10 of 26 passes at Northern Illinois in another close loss. Crist was visibly down after the Northern Illinois loss but Weis said his quarterback has moved past his mistakes. His head is fine, at least it was after 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Weis said. We had a long chat and he's fine. You've just got to get him to understand the past games are just that in the past tense. Crist, too, said the meeting with Weis was a huge confidence builder. I've just been trying to go back to when things were going well and try to remember what I did to feel confident then, Crist said. I think I'm getting there.
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